Video is definitely a favored form of content, no matter which platform you’re on. But there are some general rules and tips to follow when you’re planning where and how to utilize video for your business. Amber’s got the tips you need for better results on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram.
Thinking of launching a business or product? You’d be surprised how many vital steps get missed by the dreamers and schemers. Think about it: love is blind. When you’re really attached to an idea, maybe even in love with it, there are things you overlook. Unfortunately, these can be pretty big things. So, save yourself time, hassle, and frustration, and do these six things before you invest a ton of time and effort.
- Make sure there’s a market. You may be in love with your idea, but if there’s no market for it, it may be better left in your idea journal. Do some quick market research, ask around, do a Google search for similar products and businesses, and see if people want or need what you have to offer. Doing this upfront can save you a ton of time and money and keep you from investing your resources in something that’s not going to do well.
- Come up with a list of names. The name of your business or product is so important and will set the tone and give a first impression of your business. Choose wisely! We’re in the age of information overload. If your potential customer or consumer can’t glance at the name or see it in passing and know something about what the company or product is or what it does, they’re not going to go out of their way to investigate further. Your name should be easy to understand, convey something relevant, and pique the curiosity. If your name is something completely irrelevant or non-descriptive, even if you think it’s cute or catchy, it’s probably not going to be memorable or effective.
- Google the names you’ve come up with. There are few ‘creative’ and ‘unique’ business names in the home services industry. Whatever your industry, make sure you Google the name ideas you have before falling in love. If you’ve slapped your first name in front of the words “chimney services,” “plumbing services,” etc., you’d better be sure there isn’t a business in your area with a similar business name or you’ll have a whole host of nightmares once your business is launched.
- Check the availability of the domain name. Even if you’re not 100% sure which name you want to go with yet, go to godaddy.com and check the availability of the domain names for each of your ideas. If they’re available, buy them right then and there. If they’re not, scratch the names off your list unless you’re willing to pay top dollar to buy them from someone. Most available domain names cost around $12, and even if you’ve only whittled down your list to five and can’t make up your mind, the cost to buy all five domain names will be a lot less than the cost of wasted hours because you didn’t check the availability of the domain name before you fell in love and started branding.
- Check the availability of the social handles. Almost as important as the availability of the domain name for your new business or product is the availability of the social handles. Go to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. and make sure the handles for your new business or product idea are available. The last thing you want is to have inconsistency across your social platforms or some impossible to remember or figure out handle, all because you didn’t check to see if the one you wanted was taken on each of the major social platforms.
- Talk with others in your trusted circle. Remember our earlier conclusion: love is blind. When you’re in love with a product or business idea, you may miss things, important things — that’s why it’s a good idea to involve others early and get their input. Different people in different age groups with different perspectives who are less attached to the idea than you are may see things you don’t or think of things you overlook in the excitement. If you bring trusted people in early in the game, it will only save you time and frustration. After all, two heads (or three or four) are better than one.
Do you have a personal Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram account? Well, so do most of your current customers and future customers. What better way to grow your business than by connecting with those customers through social media? Social media also allows your business to connect with other local businesses, which is always a plus.
A wise group of people, The Spark Marketer Crew, enlightened me on the important role social media has in branding your business, increasing web traffic to your company website, and making your online presence stronger. It just makes sense. Social media plays a major role in businesses today because most customers do their research on a business via their computers and smartphones before they make that call.
Our company has been using social media for years and it has been a great tool for us for building relationships with other businesses and customers. We started off using Facebook, then added Twitter and Instagram. These social media platforms allow us and our customers to engage with each other on a regular basis, not only when our services are needed.
Don’t be afraid to try social media for your business, but remember, it takes time and commitment for it to grow — but it’s all worth it.
Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Don’t use your personal account — have a separate social media account for your business.
- There are many social media platforms to choose from, so choose the one you feel the most comfortable with. In my opinion, Facebook is the easiest.
- You need to post daily on each of the platforms you choose and always have an image with your post.
- Keep it professional, but fun. Share repair work photos, employee work anniversaries or birthdays, helpful tips that you or your customers would enjoy, etc. Mix it up!
- Like and share the posts of others.
- Don’t always try to sell something — it’s social media. You need to find a balance between business and popularity and use the platform to be social.
Social Media for business is necessary if you want to stay in front and grow your company, but it takes time and commitment. Stick with it! Your Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram followers will be people who know your company and have most likely done business with you in the past. Use social media to show them who you are and what you’re about and to build relationships, turning one-time customers into long-term fans. These are the customers who are going to tell their friends about you!
Linda Roydhouse is co-owner of Clean Sweep of Anne Arundel County and offers social media management tools, tips, and consulting services to other business owners through Roydhouse Effect. Check her out!
We love partnering up with local service businesses as they power on towards their dreams, but the reality is, not every business is ready to make that commitment, financially or otherwise. If you fit into that category, we want to give you 6 tips for what you can be doing until you are ready to work with us. Here you go!
Getting involved in local networking groups like BNI, your local Chamber of Commerce, Lions Club, Jaycees, Gold Star Referral Club, etc. is a great way to get your business name out there and gain referrals. It’s also beneficial for you as a business owner to connect with other business owners and build relationships with those in your community. So get involved, even if you don’t think of yourself as the networking type.
2. Make The News.
Most people watch the news, which is why getting a local news spot is one of the best ways to get your name out to those in your local area. Reach out to a local reporter and give them a story. Are you a chimney sweep? Maybe it’s chimney swift season or there have been a series of chimney-related house fires. Look for opportunities to present yourself as an authority and educate or inspire those in your community.
3. Give Back.
Getting your company involved with a charity is one of the most rewarding things you can do. Not only is charity work good for your spirit, but it communicates to your employees and customers that you care about more than just what you can gain from those in your community. You’ll meet new people, get involved in meaningful, big-picture work, and you may even discover new ways to raise funds and awareness through your business throughout the year. Everyone wants to find purpose and meaning in their day job, especially on the tough days when things don’t seem to be going right. Partnering with a charity and using your business to give back can provide that purpose and meaning.
4. Sponsor Teams & Events.
Have you considered sponsoring local sports teams and events, like little league teams, football teams, soccer teams, golf tournaments, tennis matches, local chamber events, community fairs, or town festivals? Getting your business involved through sponsorship can provide yet another way for those in your community to discover you and the services you provide. Plus, like the other tips on this list, team and event sponsorship provides the opportunity to build relationships and network with those you may not have otherwise come in contact with.
5. Get Social.
Everyone’s getting social on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn, and if you aren’t there to be a part of the conversation, you’re missing out! Some studies have shown that more than 60% of consumers check a business’s Facebook page before deciding to do business with them. Would those looking for you find you? Social media also provides great advertising opportunities, and since social profiles are free, they’re a cost-effective way to communicate important things like hours and services to those looking for you. Get out there, create social profiles, post engaging and informative content, and let your customers and potential customers see your personality, core values, and what makes you and your business special. Get creative, have fun, and socialize with your customers!
6. Get Your Culture, Procedures, And Customer Service Right.
When it makes sense for you to start investing in online marketing, you want to make sure you get the best ROI. But no matter how many potential customers your website or Ad spend sends your way, if you have scheduling problems, procedural problems, or customer service problems, you’re going to lose out and fail to convert some of those leads. So take this time to work on getting your company culture, procedures, systems, and customer service 100%. By getting all of these things established and in peak condition before you’re ready for us, you’ll be able to confidently serve the customers that find you through your online marketing efforts when you are ready for us. You’ll already have operations and customer service down to a science so you can focus on retaining the new customers coming into your sales funnel so they don’t go looking for anyone else.
If financial constraints or other constraints are preventing you from working with a digital marketing company, don’t get discouraged; there are still things you can be doing. Go out there and make the most of this time — we’ll be here for you when you’re ready!
Staying on top of all the trends in social media is a pressure, isn’t it? And that’s just for your personal accounts. What about for your business? New platforms and social avenues seem to pop up every few months. Which ones does your competition use? Did they already sign up for the shiny new ‘Next BIG Thing’???
The fear of being left behind is very real and quite valid. Should you be on every social platform your competitors are on? Should you be trying to catch a wave on every trend?
Managing your social media accounts can be incredibly time-consuming, especially if you sign up for every platform out there. Think about it. If you put the time into creating and launching content and engaging with others on every social channel out there, you wouldn’t have time to run the very business you’re trying to promote. That’s why you have to give it some thought.
Social media channels are like shoes. Like shoes, you need to try them on to see which ones are a good fit. Some are better fits than others and you need them if you are going to make headway. Instead of trying to wear all the shoes, invest in the right ones.
The social media account that bears your business’s name but just sits there twiddling its thumbs should be abandoned. You know, the social accounts that, at one time, had your full attention, until … they didn’t? It’s better to have strong channels representing your company (and YOU) rather than idle channels drifting at sea like a derelict vessel. If it’s got your name on it but it isn’t doing much – it’s not a good advertisement for your business.
Don’t look at abandoning a social media channel as a failure. People have followed your company on multiple platforms and they will continue to follow you elsewhere – where you have frequent and engaging content. Your time and energies are best spent focusing on the channels you are most comfortable with and that show signs of forward motion (Increase in Followers + Increase in Engagement = Increase in SEO). Time is, and always will be, money. Return on investment is crucial, but the ROI of social media for business can be harder to calculate than other aspects of your business. Really put thought into which social platforms will likely give you the highest ROI.
LinkedIn is a must for business owners as well as key employees because it allows you to connect with other businesses and network with key people in your industry. Some love LinkedIn while others feel it to be a necessary evil, but it’s just that – necessary.
Facebook is the 800 pound gorilla in the room. So many potential clients use it, so there needs to be a presence, however light, especially since customers and clients are able to leave reviews on this platform.
Twitter & Instagram
Whether you choose to invest time into Twitter or Instagram may come down to how much you like to chat and engage versus how much you take photos of your work and surroundings. What may on the surface seem like a great deal of effort becomes less so when the brand awareness and SEO impact becomes evident. Hashtags should be used with both platforms. Tweets are indexable by Google and using your SEO keywords as searchable hashtags on Instagram posts will go a long way towards helping your online visibility.
Snapchat & YouTube
Whether you choose to invest time into Snapchat or YouTube may depend upon your target demographics and what exactly you are promoting. Snapchat works well for events, retail, and entertainment. It is presently a younger demographic than other platforms. But remember, Facebook started out with a younger base before the Baby Boomers took it over.
YouTube is a great platform for building authority because you can post instructional and informational videos, and if they’re good, you’ll get shares and subscribers. As Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter all allow videos, it is kind of a no-brainer to have a connected YouTube channel/account for your business. Videos can be uploaded to YouTube before sharing elsewhere or added later. You don’t necessarily need fancy video equipment to have a successful YouTube channel either. Most camera phones provide quality video footage, and 30 to 45 seconds of footage is all you really need.
This is sounding easier, isn’t it? Remember, the authenticity of your business and your message will have a better chance of ringing true and hitting the proper marks with fewer, properly focused and tended channels. So go get social and don’t be afraid to kill the platforms you don’t use – save your energy for those you can invest in!